It’s a habit of mine to make sure my purse has several tissues available whenever I head to church on the weekends. You see, I’m a crier. Rarely do I get through the singing portion of our church service without being overcome with emotion. I can’t help but tear up. And if it’s baptism Sunday, forget about it. I shouldn’t even bother with makeup. And though it makes me a happy kind of weepy, I am drawn inextricably to church. It’s there that I feel closest to heaven. It’s there that the joy I feel is unlike anything else I experience with a group of people.
Unquestionably, taking my family to church every week and being involved in studies, outreach, missions, and service has shaped my very life and is the foundation for my growth.
But what if I didn’t bother to go?
Some sports leagues have games during church services. I could opt for little league instead. It’s only for a few months. My kids would be so disappointed if we stopped participating.
And then there’s the housework. So. Much. Laundry. Saturday and Sunday are the only days when we are all home and I can get my house in order for the week ahead.
And after such a packed week full of rushing here and racing there, shouldn’t the weekend be about rest? I can think about God in my bed while I sleep in.
Besides, we get invited to events on the weekend and those are the days when we can spend time together as a family. Hit the beach. Visit the zoo. Have friends over. Fellowship is so important!
Or maybe I’m the only one in my family who wants to go to church. And honestly, it’s so hard to be the only one. I look around at the happy couples who are sitting together. I see the kids who are so eager to learn in Sunday school. And every time I go, I’m reminded that I don’t have that. My spouse won’t come with me. My kids hate it. I just feel lonely when I go and I don’t need that reminder.
And what about all those people there that have hurt me before? Or the way the church is using the money they are given? I have been burned by people at church. How can I assemble with them and trust them again?
And listen, I have to work. God wouldn’t want me to not provide for my family. The only job I can get is during church services. If I quit that job, I don’t know if I have enough faith to handle the uncertainty of finding another job or meeting the needs of my family.
All of these reasons sound, well-reasonable.
Except there is one MAJOR problem.
We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming. Hebrews 10:25
God commands very few things of us in a practical or physical sense in the Bible. Gathering with other believers on a regular basis is one of them.
Why should you commit to attending church and becoming a vibrant part of the body of believers even when it’s inconvenient, could cost you something precious, may not feel comfortable to you, or even when you have been hurt?
Because your Savior asks you to. He died for you. He knows what is best for you. He tells us that gathering together is important. He commands it for a reason and we must trust that.
The God who created the thousands of varieties of animals, the intricacy of the human eye that baffles doctors, who opens His storehouses to send rain on all the earth, and who weaves the baby in a mother’s womb knows what He is doing. He designed us, and He knows we need community. He knows we need to be using our gifts or the body will limp ineffectively. He knows we learn to grow in mercy by being with other sinners saved by grace. He knows that if we are not in one another’s lives, we can’t spur one another on towards love and good deeds or be effective in sharing the gospel which He tells us is the very purpose of our lives.
Even when it’s messy. He wants us to jump in.
Even when we are tired. He knows that it is there we will be refreshed more deeply.
Even when we are lonely. He fills our hearts in ways no other can and is our family.
Even when we are bitter. He helps us to forgive and find healing with humility.
Even when we have lots of other things to do that weigh on our minds. He brings peace and multiplies our time.
Even when we have to give up our sense of security. He is our provider.
Grill’s Exposition Of The Entire Bible states:
Now to "forsake" such assembling, signifies a great infrequency in attending with the saints, a rambling from place to place, and takes in an entire apostasy. It is the duty of saints to assemble together for public worship, on the account of God, who has appointed it, who approves of it, and whose glory is concerned in it; and on the account of the saints themselves, that they may be delighted, refreshed, comforted, instructed, edified, and perfected; and on account of others, that they may be convinced, converted, and brought to the knowledge and faith of Christ; and in imitation of the primitive saints. And an assembling together ought not to be forsaken; for it is a forsaking God, and their own mercies, and such are like to be forsaken of God; nor is it known what is lost hereby; and it is the first outward visible step to apostasy, and often issues in it.
There is a danger of heading towards apostasy when we neglect attending with other believers-whether it be at a small town church, a mega-church in a big city, or a group of believers in your own home. Whatever “church” looks like is not the issue. But by all means, let us not dismiss God when He tells us clearly to do something. If we neglect the first command of gathering, we will surely miss other commands as well-like breaking of bread as often as we can, using our gifts in the church, and tithing our money to the Lord. It’s a slippery slope that leads to an avalanche of disobedience. Not exactly the life that will lead to blessings for you.
Mothers, Fathers, Singles, Young Adults, get yourself in church. Regularly. Attend, invest, use your gifts, find forgiveness, know that we are all hypocrites in transition-none of us better than anyone else, grow in the knowledge of God, find places to serve Him, don’t expect a perfect environment, and love unconditionally in the community of believers.
You need to go because it’s best for you. And you need to go because it’s best for your family. You need to go because God asks you to.
Honor God by your obedience. It’s not about your feelings, pleasure, or comfort. It’s about your good and God’s glory. You will be blessed in ways you never imagined. And whatever the cost, God will fill it for you. Come to the table, gather, fellowship. See what you have been missing out on and wait in happy expectation that good will follow.
YOUR TURN! What are some of the greatest blessings you have experienced by regularly gathering with the body of Christ? Is attending church a struggle for you?
(You can read more about the early church gatherings and cross references here.)
Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa Leonard, Holley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger!